Systems Change & Social Impact

University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

How long?

  • 2 months
  • online

University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business


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Who should attend

  • A senior leader or manager in a social enterprise or non-profit organisation
  • Policymaker with an interest in promoting social entrepreneurship ecosystems
  • Funder seeking to become more effective in grant-making and investing
  • Leader in private, public, and civic society

About the course

Network with local and global change-makers

Systems Change and Social Impact is a specialised short course, convened by the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCT GSB, designed to give public officials, leaders of social enterprises, founders and funders exposure to the most recent developments in the field of systems change.

This interactive five-day course equips participants with the tools and frameworks to navigate complexity and strengthen their capacity for transformative leadership and collaboration. The course promotes local and global networking amongst change-makers and provides a unique community of practice that will serve participants far beyond the duration of the course.

Learn to transform the system

Systems Change is the deliberate attempt to address social and ecological problems at the level of the system that causes them. Rather than assume to fix a problem in isolation, systems change acts to transform the system that creates it.

The Bertha Centre, a specialised unit at the UCT GSB, convenes this course as part of its efforts to advance the social innovation and entrepreneurship sectors in Africa and globally. The Systems Change and Social Impact course draws upon the Centre's collaboration and research with the Rockefeller Foundation, Schwab Foundation, Motsepe Foundation and Transforming Change programme. Lecture-based and workshop-style sessions are delivered by a diverse representation of ground-breaking systems practitioners and academics. And, as such, the curriculum is a unique blend of global systems-innovation cases and frameworks.

What will I Gain from this Course?

Delegates on the Systems Change and Social Impact course will gain:

  • An understanding of how social entrepreneurs, funders and policymakers are embracing systems thinking
  • Tools and frameworks to look beyond the scale of individual organisations to transform sectors, systems and societies at large
  • Exposure to best practices of leading social benefit organisations
  • An opportunity to interact with ground-breaking systems practitioners and academics
  • An opportunity to be part of a growing network of change-agents better able to effect transformation in their systems of interest

What does the Course Focus on?

This interactive five-day course offers a rich learning experience that blends theory and practice and is designed to surface the knowledge that participants bring with them into the space.

Topics include:

  • Social entrepreneurship to systems entrepreneurship – including local and global trends, developments and policies
  • Working across scale and models for impact that go beyond technical fixes toward systemic change – from creative advocacy to unusual partnerships
  • Practical skills in leadership and management, including managing uncertainty and navigating complexity
  • Innovative finance frameworks and mechanisms that support social/systems entrepreneurship


Ralph Hamann

Ralph is Professor and Research Director at the GSB, and he also directs the school’s PhD program. His research and teaching is on why and how organisations create or address complex social-ecological problems. Rated an “internationally acclaimed” researcher by the National Research Foundation, h...

Ncedisa Nkonyeni

As the Social Systems Innovation Lead, Ncedisa Nkonyeni convenes the Bertha Centre’s Systems Change and Social Impact Executive Education course. She also curates the Africa regional hub of the global systems play team; a support and resource node for change-agents aspiring to position their inno...

Ella Scheepers

Ella is an educator, collaborator and activist in the fields of human rights and social innovation in Southern Africa. Currently, she is a PhD student at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town in South Africa; a freelancer with the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SW...

Ishtar Lakhani

Ishtar has been working as a feminist, activist and trouble-maker in the field of social justice advocacy for over a decade. Having received a Masters degree in Anthropology from the University of the Witwatersrand, her career has ranged from coordinating a radical, feminist advocacy network for ...

Phumlani Nkontwana

Phumlani has run and managed prominent entrepreneurship funds for blue-chip local and international companies such as Allan Gray, Multichoice, Transnet, Total, J.P. Morgan and Philips; impacting hundreds of entrepreneurs and emerging businesses since 2009. His recent work with the African Union a...

Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa

Philippa is an experienced coach, facilitator, poet and storyteller. She has experience in public, corporate, and NPO sectors - and in the education sector in South Africa, Uganda, and the UK. Her passion is working with people across sectors, and facilitating learning and development at individu...

Tine Fisker Henriksen

Tine is the Impact Investing Lead at the Bertha Centre. She manages multiple projects focused on strengthening the impact investing sector in South Africa and Africa at large. She has worked with multiple local investment funds to set up innovative finance mechanisms that drive more capital to sm...

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Systems Change & Social Impact at University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

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Full disclaimer.

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